Cyclic AMP analog blocks kinase activation by stabilizing inactive conformation: Conformational selection highlights a new concept in allosteric inhibitor design

Suguna Badireddy, Gao Yunfeng, Mark Ritchie, Pearl Akamine, Jian Wu, Choel W. Kim, Susan S. Taylor, Lin Qingsong, Kunchithapadam Swaminathan, Ganesh S. Anand

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54 Scopus citations

Abstract

The regulatory (R) subunit of protein kinase A serves to modulate the activity of protein kinase A in a cAMP-dependent manner and exists in two distinct and structurally dissimilar, end point cAMP-bound "B" and C-subunit-bound "H"-conformations. Here we report mechanistic details of cAMP action as yet unknown through a unique approach combining x-ray crystallography with structural proteomics approaches, amide hydrogen/deuterium exchange and ion mobility mass spectrometry, applied to the study of a stereospecific cAMP phosphorothioate analog and antagonist((R p)-cAMPS). X-ray crystallography shows cAMP-bound R-subunit in the B form but surprisingly the antagonist Rp-cAMPS-bound R-subunit crystallized in the H conformation, which was previously assumed to be induced only by C-subunit-binding. Apo R-subunit crystallized in the B form as well but amide exchange mass spectrometry showed large differences between apo, agonist and antagonist-bound states of the R-subunit. Further ion mobility reveals the apo R-subunit as an ensemble of multiple conformations with collisional cross-sectional areas spanning both the agonist and antagonist-bound states. Thus contrary to earlier studies that explained the basis for cAMP action through "induced fit" alone, we report evidence for conformational selection, where the ligand-free apo form of the R-subunit exists as an ensemble of both B and H conformations. Although cAMP preferentially binds the B conformation, Rp-cAMPS interestingly binds the H conformation. This reveals the unique importance of the equatorial oxygen of the cyclic phosphate in mediating conformational transitions from H to B forms highlighting a novel approach for rational structure-based drug design. Ideal inhibitors such as Rp-cAMPS are those that preferentially "select" inactive conformations of target proteins by satisfying all "binding" constraints alone without inducing conformational changes necessary for activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular and Cellular Proteomics
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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